30 July 2009

third st. sidewalk sale (and an s.o.s.)

m21 got this flyer posted to his facebook page a couple of days ago, but didn't think much of it- the trina turk store near his house mainly carries women's wear, so no great excitement for him (if the residential collection was on sale, it would be a different story); but we did notice that the sale was in conjunction with a wider "sidewalk sale" sponsored by the west 3rd st. business association, and we thought maybe we should blog about it. alas, we soon forgot all about the post idea over the course of our busy day (many, if not most of our blog post ideas are fleeting thoughts, never to see the light of day when the next shiny thing distract attracts our attention), so this post might never have happened.

then yesterday, we happened to drive the entire stretch of west 3rd st between la cienega and fairfax, and when we did, we were shocked- virtually 50% of the storefronts that line the street were vacant, with for lease signs, and of the remaining stores, almost all had "sale" signs up. we drive down this stretch of road so often, m21 had become immune to the number of stores going out of business, but yesterday, the sad reality of the situation grabbed our attention anew and hit us hard, really hard. it bummed us out for the rest of the day, and got us thinking about the "sidewalk sale" flyer we recently received on the FB...
2 years ago, west third st. was booming- one of the few true walking streets in los angeles, lined with chic boutique after boutique, interspersed with restaurants and cafes, and nary a chain store in sight (how refreshing is that)! if a storefront opened up on the street, it was quickly filled with an even cooler business selling even more unique and unknown lines of clothing, or gifts and housewares. rents were not cheap- we know, as m21 priced out a few vacant spots with the fantasy of opening his own atelier in the neighborhood, and yet despite the steep rents, the stores all seemed to thrive, some even expanding- small merchants living their dreams.
until our hideous recession hit, and now this vibrant neighborhood is less so. there are still great places to shop, but markedly fewer, and the number seems to shrink weekly. which brings us to the point of this post- if you live in los angeles, make a point to go to the sidewalk sale on west 3rd street this weekend. try to buy something too- you don't need to spend a lot, money is tight for all, we know- but in this dire economy, even a couple of small sales could make all the difference for a struggling merchant. for someone, this sidewalk sale could be the make or break moment for their shop. make a day of it and eat at one of the great restaurants while you are there- joan's on third is a particularly great casual spot for lunch. heck, make a day and an evening of it, and stay on for dinner at the always amazing AOC...

and if you don't live in LA, go to the the area of your town that's similar to w. 3rd st. - not a mall filled with chain stores- but an area with local merchants, and spend a little time and hopefully a little money there. m21 knows, this isn't exactly feeding the hungry or housing the homeless, but if you are reading a decorating blog that means you are a lover of pretty things and pretty places, so a little support for those that provide us with the pretty on a local level wouldn't be so out of line, ya know?maybe m21 will see you on third!


mary said...

Hi Christian, Great post. There is so much creativity in Los Angeles that we need to promote and support. The recession will ease but the small merchants and artists need to survive now. And besides, we need cool clothes and great home environments now more than ever.

Tracy @ comfortandluxury said...

Completely agree about shopping local... bought something at an antiques shop in my little downtown last weekend and will likely go back today or tomorrow for another thing that caught my eye. If I time my trip right, I can stop in the sandwich shop at the same time. Thanks for pushing this idea, Chritian!

Bonnie said...

Cool! Sounds fun. Maybe I will go too, even to just walk around, see what's going on! Trina Turk is a favorite of mine! And look... another Designer Tag Sale on Aug 8th discovered via the Turquoise blog:

the Original Cheetah-Hating Anon said...

Oh M21, God I wish I could shop on Third and eat at Joan's! The truth is, I can barely afford to shop at my local hospital thrift shop these days. (That's no joke, either.) While the recession is a mere annoyance for some people, for others of us it's been a pretty serious blow.

Today I'm going to enjoy a free museum exhibit and then I"ll be hitting up a taco truck for a tasty bite.

maison21 said...

mary- yeah- that's why i posted it, the recession WILL ease, but so, so, so many of small business owners will not make it. i am terribly happy i am not tied to a break and mortar lease on a shop right now as i'm fairly sure i wouldn't be making it...

good on ya, tracy! i think we forget to shop local (i'm part of the problem too- how many of my posts refer to an internet source, rather than a local source? the internet is just so freaking convenient, and open 24 hours a day).

bonnie- did you go? i just strolled around for a bit yesterday, and was feeling entirely too poor to shop ;-( i did feel i could afford gelato at joans :-)

tocha- don't feel you are alone! most days lately you would have had to spot me for a taco at the truck! the recession has been devastating to every single person i know in the design field (or in the arts. or in retail). some people in design are getting through because they saved like squirrels during the boom years. me? i've always been a "spend it if you've got it" kind of guy, so things have been... interesting.

(btw, all kinds of people you wouldn't imagine are trying to sell their stuff on the downlow. people whom i thought were wealthy, have offered to sell me things for ridiculously low prices. usually i have to decline- no point buying something, no matter how cheap- if i can't sell it again).

hang in there, kiddo- we'll get through this!

the Original Cheetah-Hating Anon said...

Thanks for the encouragement, M21—nice to remember I'm not alone in this mess.

I'm one of the squirrels. And barely hanging on to my nuts! (As Dave Letterman would say.)

I did, however enjoy a lovely afternoon yesterday at the

Annenberg Space for Photography
It's in the CAA compound in Century City. We went for the photography but what blew me away was the design (and meticulous execution) of the Space.

Cheap tacos and a leisurely drive up PCH rounded out the day. Ah the simple life!

Bonnie said...

Hi Christian,
I wanted to go if even to just look, but haven't been feeling well. After doing my must do errands, I just didn't have the energy (or money... I really need a job!) Next time they have this kinda event i will try to go. It looks fun! Did you find anything you liked?

Bonnie said...

Hey Christian... Maybe there is a way we can trade our stuff with each other and not spend any money? I cant afford to buy anything... but I got a house full stuff.

Cheetah... Where did you find a free museum tour? That sounds really great!

hello gorgeous said...

I'm happy to know I'm not the only one distracted by shiny objects (my daughter jokes about that all the time).

This recession is killing my shop-owning friends. Although I finally realized I couldn't keep them afloat myself. Hopefully this will end soon (not likely though).

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